February 22, 2019

Sri Lanka court puts PM's position on hold

05 December 2018, 06:32 | Devin Moran

Sri Lankan court bars Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister

Sri Lanka Parliament,President Maithripala Sirisena,Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Some 122 politicians who are opposed to Rajapaksa in the 225-member parliament challenged Rajapaksa and his ministers' right to hold office.

Sri Lanka's toppled premier likened the president to Hitler on Tuesday as he demanded to be reinstated, nearly six weeks into a paralysing political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

The South Asian nation has been in crisis since President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Mr Rajapaksa in October, then issued an order dissolving parliament and called for a general election.

However, the President once again stressed that he will not reappoint the ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe even if all the parliamentarians in the Parliament supports him.

On Tuesday, he reiterated the stance at his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) convention, claiming that Mr. Wickremesinghe was "not suitable" for the country.

"The Prime Minister is decided by parliamentary majority".

The dynamic between the two leaders, who formed Sri Lanka's first national unity government in 2015, has been deteriorating over the last three years.

The ruling by Sri Lanka's Court of Appeals on Monday comes after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to step down despite losing two no-confidence votes last month.

The crisis deepened on Friday when parliament voted to halt payment of ministers' salaries - a move to pressure the disputed government of Rajapaksa.

The court gave Rajapakse until December 12 to prove to its judges his legitimacy to lead and the authority of his cabinet. "I still hold the majority of the house". When Sirisena tried to dissolve the assembly in retaliation, it was temporarily blocked by the country's supreme court.

The respondents, who have maintained that his executive powers allowed him to do so, will make their submissions on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision as early as Dec 7.

Mr. Sirisena's snap decision, compounded by his lawmakers' questionable actions in Parliament since, has prolonged the political turmoil for weeks.

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